Inside the $100M dollar scooter sharing startup Spin

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Today’s guest runs one of many companies that I think are not just changing my life, but changing the lives of many people. I remember when I first started to see electric scooters show up in San Francisco. It made so much more sense than waiting for a car to come pick you up.

We’re living in a city with hardly any rain, hardly any terrible weather. And suddenly these electric scooters showed up all over the city.

Today’s guest is the creator of one of the first scooters that I ever saw here in San Francisco. Euwyn Poon is the co-founder of Spin, a stationless electric scooter sharing company.

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Euwyn Poon

Euwyn Poon

Spin

Euwyn Poon is the co-founder of Spin, a stationless electric scooter sharing company.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy. And I’m about to just get super excited about today’s guest. Here’s why. I really believe that entrepreneurs change, that startups, that new businesses change the way that we live. And I think that we just take them for granted. And we get the sense that it’s just another startup by just someone else who’s about to try to get rich and, I don’t know, dominate or something. I think we’ve gotten a little jaded.

Today’s guest runs one of many companies that I think are not just changing my life, but changing the lives of many people. I don’t remember the date but I remember when I first started to see electric scooters show up in San Francisco and I realized this makes so much more sense than waiting for a car to come pick you up, which takes for freaking ever, it takes up a long time in the road and frankly is not that pleasurable. And I take trains to work and it’s so much more pleasurable especially in San Francisco to be above ground.

We’re living in a city with hardly any rain, hardly any terrible weather, not great weather either, but why not experience it? And suddenly these electric scooters showed up all over the city and I say they changed my life. And you might say, “Well, Andrew is some kind of a bike-riding freak.” Fine. It’s not just me. I started to see more people in the bike lanes, which meant that I started seeing more bike lanes show up in San Francisco. They would paint these lanes green too. They would put cones to keep people from coming into the bike lanes. So they made it easier even for bike riders who bought their own bikes to get to work to ride and to change their experience too.

Today’s guest is the creator of one of the first scooters that I ever saw here in San Francisco. His name is Euwyn Poon. He is the co-founder of Spin. They’re a shared mobility company but I’m glad that he’s not making me say the whole mobility thing and let me be more concrete. They’re dockless which means you could just park them wherever, share, which means anyone can get on them and get off them. Electric scooter company. I am so glad that he’s out there. I’m so glad that he’s here to do this interview. And I’m proud of the two sponsors who make this interview happen. The first is a company that both of us, Euwyn and I both know, it’s called Toptal for hiring developers. And the second, if you’re doing email marketing, you got to check out ActiveCampaign. Euwyn, does it feel a little foolish to them that excited about your company? Does it feel naive?

Euwyn: No, because I think that we’re an amazing kind of growth space. And we’re in the middle of a huge transformation of mobility and I’m just excited you’re excited. And it’s certainly a crazy wild ride for us the last two years and there’s so much passion, enthusiasm, and energy in the space and it’s been really fun to be at the top of this.

Andrew: I was looking at your face as I said it. I said, “Is he going to be smiling or is he going to . . . ” No, nothing. Just like poker player face. You sold the company. How much did you sell the company for?

Euwyn: So we’re not allowed to mention the price. Although there’s some reports out there, it was a great outcome for everyone involved and . . .

Andrew: I’ve got the reports. Axios said $40 million. And then they corrected their own posts and said it seems like it’s closer to $100 million, which then San Francisco Chronicle ran with and said $100 million to Ford. Are these guys crazy to say $100 million?

Euwyn: No, they’re not crazy.

Andrew: They’re not, but you’re not going to validate it. Will you say . . . I know you talked to our producer . . .

Euwyn: It’s a public company thing with Ford being a public, and they’re pretty mindful of what they say.

Andrew: I get it. And it’s one of those things that you’d have to be an idiot to reveal something that you’re not supposed to reveal on that level. So I’m not going to push you just to create a charade of, “Look at me, I’m going to push him.” But I do understand you told our producer what your revenue was. I’ve got it here in my notes. Would you be comfortable sharing it now publicly?

Euwyn: No, not yet actually. But it’s certainly growing quite significant in the last . . .

Andrew: No, I mean, how about in the first three years, can you say that?

Euwyn: In the first three years, so it’s been . . . I’ll definitely kind of avoid that question.

Andrew: Okay, I’ve got it here. It’s pretty significant. Let’s get into how you discover the company . . .

Euwyn: This I can talk about.

Andrew: . . . about why you sold it. Sorry?

Euwyn: This I can talk about that happily.

Andrew: Yeah, good. I’m about to go to Singapore. I was going to go to these other countries in Asia to do interviews. People keep telling me, “Andrew, no, Singapore is the place to go if you want to talk about entrepreneurship.”

Euwyn: Yep.

Andrew: You’re from Singapore. You just said, “Yep.” What is it about Singapore? I totally missed it as an entrepreneurial hub. Tell me about it.

Euwyn: So I was born there. And there’s great talent and the remarkable story of Spin is that myself and my two other co-founders we’re all Singaporean and kind of linked up in the U.S. Never met as kids in Singapore or anything like that but we ended up crossing paths and that our shared experiences and I think that Singapore is well renowned for their education system and has produced kind of pretty people with great minds and great ambition. And I think that combined with some of the lessons that I learned and some of the more of the freedom that I enjoyed well. So I moved when I was 10 to Vancouver and grew up sort of half in Singapore then half in Vancouver but . . .

Andrew: But your dad owned in a company in Singapore, right?

Euwyn: Yes.

Andrew: What was his company? I want to get a sense of your entrepreneurial background and then also your investment background and then how you come up with the idea for Spin?

Euwyn: No, perfect. And I think that . . .

Andrew: Tell me about his company?

Euwyn: So my dad ran a company called [Wellmarks 00:05:34] so it was an import/export company. And I’ve kind of taken after a bit and Singapore is a hub and without much in terms of natural resources. In fact, it actually has to buy drinkable water from Malaysia. So it’s curious little country, and they’ve made a lot of their wealth has been generated through finance and trade and import/export and my dad kind of cut his teeth versus an accountant for a company named Monsanto. This is way back in the day.

Andrew: I know Monsanto. Yes.

Euwyn: Yeah, those guys but then somehow he stumbled into entrepreneurship kind of almost accidentally. He got an opportunity to take a deal that they, you know, take a business line day they didn’t want and ended up pivoting many times into the import and export of window film of all things. So not movies and just . . .

Andrew: The film in windows. What did you learn from your dad from watching him be an entrepreneur, from watching him build this business?

Euwyn: I learned what’s interesting what you can make money off.

Andrew: Really? Oh, right, that nobody would think window film is a thing unless they see that that’s a thing that you can make a living on.

Euwyn: And it turns out there was . . . I mean, it’s one of these that goes into on everything, buildings, cars, and there’s a huge margin because it’s necessary for safety for preventing heat insulation. It’s one of these things that just . . . and he was not a specialist in chemistry or anything like that. He just kind of saw an opportunity. And that’s a theme that I’ve carried on in my career as well.

Andrew: Seeing opportunities.

Euwyn: A good opportunity spotter and being able to jump on it.

Andrew: Give me an example. You’re a guy who before this you were venture capitalist. Can you give me an example of an opportunity that you saw before Spin, before bikes, before scooters?

Euwyn: So, I mean, the very first thing I started was actually a vacation rental startup. This is in circa 2008. So I started one of the first vacation rental companies. We competed with another big player in the space. I know Airbnb. But we had teamed up . . . this is back when I was a lawyer. I started my . . . through many twists and turns and that’s been a defining part of my career. I tried to dabble and learn for everything. So having gone from computer science to law school to a big prestigious law firm, I found myself bored and kind of started tinkering and tried to see opportunities.

So one opportunity that I saw was the inefficiency of rental listings. I always found there’s always opportunity in problems and then finding a good place to live that was better experience than going on Craigslist. That sort of opened my eyes to the problem and opportunity. I built something and then ended up teaming with some of the folks I met who were keen to use the product platform for this niche space of renting strangers’ homes while traveling. This is a trend started in Europe.

Andrew: And this is before Airbnb allowed people to rent their full places back when Airbnb was air, bed and breakfast, I think, and they were allowing people to have just a room in their apartment? And so what was the site called? I’m going to go to the Internet Archive. I want to go see what this looks like.

Euwyn: Yeah, you can see it. It was called Roomorama.

Andrew: Roomorama. Okay.

Euwyn: Yeah. I think they were kicking around until . . . I left the project quite early on. But I kind of stumbled upon the notion and saw the opportunity of creating a better platform for renting.

Andrew: Why do you think it didn’t work when you were there?

Euwyn: For you mean . . .

Andrew: Roomorama. I want to see the analysis that you have. I just want to get a sense of how you think about these things.

Euwyn: Sure. In terms of the product creation, the opportunity that I saw, so initially, I was thinking about building a website for just regular apartment rentals. And when the friend had brought up the idea of marrying this concept with the vacation rental opportunity. You know, people in Europe were renting homes and instead of hotels and that offered a unique experience. At the same time people were doing this on Craigslist and other platforms where the big pain point was finding great availabilities. So just creating a booking engine that was more like hotels.com but layered on top of a brand new space like a vacation rentals seemed to be a really interesting concept. I liked the notion of always transplanting things.

Andrew: I get it. By the way, I did find it on Internet Archive. Immediately I can see why it makes sense. You’re showing prices for hotels in Manhattan versus apartments. So I can see Tribeca Financial District hotels . . .

Euwyn: Are you getting back in 2008?

Andrew: Yeah, archive. Apartment 191. Anyone who sees this immediately goes, “This makes 100% sense. I don’t need more clarity than that.” What I’m curious about then is this not only makes sense, it made sense for Airbnb. I want to get a sense of why it didn’t work out then?

Euwyn: This is actually it wasn’t a product and sometimes, as I’ve learned in my career, there are many reasons why startups work and startups don’t. And for this one particular it was actually just the team.

Andrew: The team?

Euwyn: Like we never kind of came together. It was an ad hoc projects on my . . . it was something I was doing kind of part time.

Andrew: Yeah. I saw on your LinkedIn profile. It was like on a part-time thing. So you weren’t just an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. You were also working as a clerk, a law clerk at Western District of New York, right?

Euwyn: Oh, that was an internship. So that was . . .

Andrew: But that’s both at 2008. You were doing both of those things in 2008 at various times, right? So we’re looking at a guy who’s doing other things. It’s not like he’s willing to commit to the startup lifestyle yet.

Euwyn: Yeah. It actually spawned off as something I was doing nights and weekends where I was working at the law firm. I was picking up coding and started to build again and got keen on it. But it kind of it wasn’t . . . it led to a bit of conflict in the team and it ended up kind of gelling and taking it to the next level. So that was an interesting learning experience for me and yeah, some interesting point in history of what could have been.

Andrew: You created Opzi. I think you called it a Quora for enterprise, meaning a place for enterprise to ask questions of each other.

Euwyn: Yeah, pretty simple concept. Again, following my theme of the transplanting ideas. At the time after I got my first taste of startup experience or my renewed taste in startup experience in creating vacation rental site. I ended up hopping over to Mountain View and got into YCombinator, which taught me a bunch of different lessons in entrepreneurship and got to work with Paul Graham and Opzi was born out of my first YCombinator experience. I saw and combined the problem that I knew, which was knowledge sharing and retention is difficult in large organizations. It was a problem that I understood.

And then I saw what Quora was doing on the consumer web, which was building this repository of easily editable and shareable Q&A. And then decided to kind of married them two together and generally it was pretty well received I think from an investor’s standpoint. We got a lot of press, a lot of attention. Did the TechCrunch thing. My life was pretty much like Silicon Valley. You know, it’s sometimes got involved.

Andrew: By the way, look at the people who invested in the company. It was about a million dollars in funding maybe I think soon after YCombinator. SV Angel came in.

Euwyn: Yep, Ron Conway’s fund.

Andrew: Ron Conway’s fund. First Round Capital, Naval Ravikant, Jeff Clavier, Paul Buchheit, who also came in for Spin. We’re talking about really impressive group of people. What do you think they saw in you a guy who was just a lawyer? Why did they like you? This is before you had your track record.

Euwyn: Yeah, I’m not sure. I think it’s the ability to kind of explain a problem pretty clearly and have the right experience to understand the problem and present a solution. And it was very helpful to have the model of Quora to point out a product that was growing in a different domain. So I think that from an investment there and kind of entrepreneur standpoint, I like the pattern match and a lot of times investors do that as well. So I think that they saw a pretty hungry and driven entrepreneur to tackle a space that he had intimate familiarity with.

And with a model that was already proven and growing in one area. I learned quite a bit on my experience so that the key thing that I learned later on was not knowing a lick about enterprise sales. I knew everything else. I could build a product. I could, you know, raise capital. But it turned out I really wasn’t the right person or even at the time to create and lead an enterprise sales team. It requires a level of patience and understanding of large, complex organizations that I just kind of didn’t have.

Andrew: Do you have example of a time when you tried to sell and you realize, “No, this is clearly not me and I don’t have it”?

Euwyn: I think that I love selling ideas. And I love selling like kind of pitching and getting investors and team members on board. I think where I would hesitate even at the idea of having to write out white paper or like having to do a deck. I prefer to do my sales kind of like in a casual and one, like, conversational setting. So that whole thing of the agency is why I wouldn’t make at least maybe, you know, I would make a great enterprise kind of salesperson with the patience and sales cycles you need to persevere through.

Andrew: There’s a question on Quora. “Why did Opzi fail with his plan to make Quora for enterprise?” The number one answer there seems to be because normal employees don’t visit a special product or website and deploy their knowledge there without being incentivized for it. And they . . . the person gives an example says, “I’ve got a law background and I don’t think the average $150,000 a year lawyer would spend one or two additional hours on top of his 15-hour workday to document stuff for people after him.” That’s essentially right?

Euwyn: That’s correct. I’m trying to think about whether I actually wrote that answer, I guess not. It sounds like something I would say.

Andrew: Philipp Hoffmann wrote it.

Euwyn: Yeah, that’s super kind of right on point. We found it challenging too. There was no kind of organic pickup, which was it doesn’t mean that the product wouldn’t work or sell. There are two entirely different things on the enterprise sales world. I think a more nuanced answer, a better answer for that about why Opzi didn’t work would be the fact that there really is only a couple things that companies pay for, which is one is growth and two is utilities. So if you don’t follow the Opzi product . . .

Andrew: What do you mean by utilities? Because I thought it would be a utility.

Euwyn: Oh, yeah, true utilities. I mean, like things like Slack and Zoom and other things that people use on a day-to-day basis. So while Opzi wanted to be a utility, it didn’t have that organic usage and it didn’t form that habit with a user to make it a true product that the bar for being a true utility is pretty high. It needs to be something . . .

Andrew: Oh, no, I think we might have just lost him. He is now at the airport because he had an issue with a flight. And we’re going to wait to see if the connection comes back. And if it doesn’t, we will reconnect with him. We’re reconnecting and I’m continuing the conversation. You are at the airport because of what? What happened?

Euwyn: I just ended up . . . well, it’s just a long . . . I was here for a town in LA for E3 and had some meetings here. So we’re doing some fun things in the e-gaming space. We actually launched the virtual car, an eNASCAR that’s sponsored by Spin.

Andrew: As a way of promoting Spin?

Euwyn: Yep.

Andrew: Okay, you know, let me take a moment talk about my first sponsor, and then we’ll get back into the story. First sponsor is a company called ActiveCampaign. I don’t get the sense that you’re big on marketing automation software. So maybe I’m going to open your eyes to this stuff. Here’s the thing about marketing automation software. You might at Spin. Do you guys have people come pick up the scooters and charge them up?

Euwyn: We do. Yeah, of course.

Andrew: You do? Okay. Imagine you’ve got two different parts of your website, one for people who pick it up. And what’s the Spin website? I always use the app.

Euwyn: Spin.pm.

Andrew: .pm.

Euwyn: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. We’ve got to get to Spin also. I want to get to the ICO that you are going to do, why you sold. All right. So imagine you got on your website two different parts. Part for people who are trying to make money by recharging the Spin scooters and another part for people who are just interested in riding Spin scooters. And if you have their email address because they’re in your list, you don’t have to ask them, “What are you most interested in?” You could just understand, “Hey, you know, we got people who are clearly looking to make more money by picking up our Spin scooters.” Because if you have ActiveCampaign, you just put a little bit code on every page in your site, they get tagged based on where they are.

And then when you say, “Hey, we’ve got this new offer, we’ve got this new opportunity, we’ve got this new suggestion for how to pick up our Spin scooters.” You could just send it to the people who’ve been on the pages where they’ve been interested in picking up the scooters. On the other hand, if you’ve got people who are maybe looking at a part of your website, like let’s say, where? San Francisco. I’m freaking in San Francisco. I want you guys to come back here in the worst way, ideas for how you should come back here in the worst way, but you will definitely not go with my ideas. We’ll talk about that in a bit.

But if you see me constantly clicking on San Francisco, you don’t need me to tell you I’m in San Francisco. You don’t need me to fill out a form. You just tag it San Francisco and when it’s time for you to launch in San Francisco, everyone who visited San Francisco site, you say, “We are in San Francisco, boom, you let us know. And you don’t have to fill out a form. It’s just based on what we do.” That’s what ActiveCampaign allows you to do, based on what people have done, message them, the right message to the right person based on what they’ve done, not a form that they filled out. It allows you to close more sales. Allows you also to be more caring for your audience.

If you want to sign up for it, imagine if I got Spin to sign up for ActiveCampaign, they would love me. And if you guys have done it, I wouldn’t be surprised. Or if anyone else who’s listening to me wants to sign up for it, they should go to activecampaign.com/mixergy. If they do, they’re to get free trial. If they sign up, the second month will be free. They’ll also get two consultations where a professional will make sure that they get things done and then finally if they’re with a different email provider, ActiveCampaign will move them over. Activecampaign.com/mixergy.

Okay, the company closed. Did you have any sense of . . . it did close, right? Am I wrong?

Euwyn: What?

Andrew: Opzi or did you sell it? I couldn’t find . . .

Euwyn: Actually the tech still runs today at First Round Capital.

Andrew: Oh, right. It became their internal system.

Euwyn: Yeah, it’s their First Round Network. That was a fun time as well. They actually added . . . the opportunity now looking back I was sitting next to the early Uber team when they were at . . . yeah, I was . . . So First Round invested, I built this platform, they used it, they liked it, I couldn’t figure out, couldn’t find any other customers for it. So they invited me back to the offices to try to incubate something and I was sitting next to Travis and Ryan and the team while trying to think of the next big thing. It turns out they were working on something pretty big as well. But that was pretty early days of the UberCab service with a red logo and just black cars at that point.

Andrew: So what did happen? Again, another question on Quora is what happened to Opzi? Marc Bodnick says it closed according to Crunchbase. And there hasn’t been any news about the company. So it’s now being used by First Round. Did they buy from you? What happened?

Euwyn: We ended up just licensing . . . I mean transferring over the IP basically. So it turned out to be a . . . it was supposed to be a venture investment. It turned out to be almost a consulting gig.

Andrew: I feel like considering what we’re about to talk about that you’ve done, I feel like you’ve had a lot of successes. Did you feel at that point like a failure or did you feel any personal setback, any negative emotions about it?

Euwyn: That was a huge thing. I mean, that was my first kind of venture-backed company even though it was small at the time, a million dollar seed round was . . . there was a highs and lows. I mean, closing that initial fundraising round was a huge high, getting into YC was a huge high, not finding product market fit and really kind of struggling through that cycle when you see something not working and kind of losing the faith with a small team and watching all this kind of unfold, that’s something that gives me a lot of drive as well. I’d like to think back to the times when, like, things didn’t work for whatever reasons and it gives me the drive to jump on opportunity when I see them now. When I see a something in front of me, it really motivates me to really want to make that work.

Andrew: Because the last one didn’t or because that one didn’t work out.

Euwyn: Because of the things that I’ve built. Yeah, because of things that for various reasons, you know, that didn’t work out in the past.

Andrew: I get that. Tell me if I’m wrong or reading things into your story. It seems like what you’re saying is you saw your entrepreneurial mortality, you realize you could die your business, your ideas could die. And that fires you up to avoid that in the future. Am I misreading it here? That’s true?

Euwyn: That’s what’s. That’s right.

Andrew: Okay, then you went back to YCombinator for Delta Financial. They invested in you. And the idea behind Delta was what?

Euwyn: It was actually more experimental. So that was the time that me and another YC alum got really interested in the whole blockchain and Bitcoin thing. I don’t think that anything else existed at that time besides the good old Bitcoin. But we were fascinated by it. Like a lot of technologists kind of fascinated by the technology and the white paper and the concepts around it and wanted to build something. We weren’t quite sure what so we’d an all-star team, me and my . . . and you’ll see this element. You’ll see different things working in different times and them all needing to line up perfectly for something to work out.

That experience we had a . . . me and my co-founder got along great. We had what was in the kind of rising tide. We just couldn’t figure out what exactly we wanted to solve. We saw an opportunity but really didn’t focus on a core problem. So we experimented we built interest bearing in Bitcoin account product. That gained some traction after we posted it on CoinDesk and kind of garnered some attention for it but couldn’t figure out like what we want to do with it. And the regulatory headache surrounding Bitcoin was hairy then, it’s still hairy now and we weren’t very certain that was a space that we wanted to make a huge bet in.

Andrew: And what did you end up doing? This was less than a year. You raised money from how many people? Were the Winklevoss twins investors?

Euwyn: Yeah.

Andrew: They were. Okay.

Euwyn: The Winklevoss twins and Initialized Capital. We ended up returning the funds at par. It was a nice loss for everyone involved. We made enough money to pay our costs for our time and their investors got their funds back and we kind of lived on as the founders to kind of pursue and fight another day.

Andrew: By the way, I just started reading Ben Mezrich new book, “Bitcoin Billionaires.” I guess it’s going to be about the two of them. And it starts off completely different from “The Social Network.” He’s basically saying they were the evil ones in the social network. And Mark Zuckerberg was like this developer with this genius vision and everyone loved him and hated them. And now it seems like it’s the other way around. And now he’s launching into their story in an interesting way. All right. Then you became a partner at Exponent.

Euwyn: Yeah, I started my own venture fund. So in middle of, you know, I guess, trying a bunch of different products, I realized from the Delta experience that it was very critical to really have a refined vision for the product before I started my next thing. So in view of that I realized that I had a knack for spotting ideas and wanted to kind of capitalize on that and had a bunch of investors that wanted to trust in my vision and selecting teams and companies and basically formed my first venture fund. That was fun. It was a fun startup experience and involved raising capital from China, which actually dovetails into how I started Spin.

Andrew: Yeah. Let pause for a second. You know, I respect the hell out of you, right? And you know I admire what you’re doing and I want to see more so don’t take this wrong way but the guy who just had two failed companies, maybe one failed, one or so. How do you now get the confidence, the guts, the nerve to say, “I’m going to start an investment company because I know how to pick the winners”? Never mind, start anything new after that instead of feeling sorry for yourself, but start something where you say, “I know who’s right. I know who’s going to make it.”

Euwyn: Yeah. I’ve never kind of lost my own confidence in the ability to find and spot products and I think that as I look back now, I mean, projects fail for a number of reasons, you know, rather it’s team or the right chemistry between product and market, but I’ve always kind of still trust my ability to look at markets and identify opportunities. And ultimately, I was able and also had really built a great network within Silicon Valley that would give me the access. And part of the venture game is also about failure and like in a seed fund, you do expect that many of your bets to go to be busts, but you only have to be right, you know, a couple times, once for a couple times to and that’s the name of this game.

Andrew: It seems like you guys invested in a lot of YCombinator companies.

Euwyn: Yep.

Andrew: Right. And that’s another thing. I think that AngelList got a bunch of YCombinator. Alumni gave them money to go invest in YCombinator companies because who else would know what’s doing well other than the people who are on the inside, right?

Euwyn: Yep.

Andrew: So it seems like that . . . which of you? Was it you or your partner who invested in Snapchat?

Euwyn: That was my partner and that was in a later round. But we built a pretty impressive portfolio and are still continuing to invest today. Personally not out of the funds that we ended up pausing the fund to let me start Spin actually. And Spin . . .

Andrew: So talk to me about China. You were in China to do what and then what did you see as you’re going outside of your place?

Euwyn: So I was actually I was raising capital. I was solidifying my relationships with the investors. One of the largest real estate firms, a large private equity firm over there in China. I had a series of meetings there and spent some time there. It was pretty much like didn’t expect it to find . . . I wasn’t expecting to find my next startup idea. I wasn’t really looking for one. But there I was. I saw it was during the time that these two companies Mobike and Ofo had launched and I was living in the downtown district of Beijing and these yellow and orange, silver bicycles appeared outside my apartment one day with these QR codes. And the curiosity of the [opposite 00:30:06] took hold of me and wanted to play around with it and looking around the bicycle there was a URL.

Going to the URL, I couldn’t even read the Mandarin is pretty rusty at the time. I couldn’t figure it out but, you know, saw an install link, opened up the app, figured out how I get my WePay credentials, or not, my WhatsApp. Or my WeChat, sorry, too many W type companies credentials in there and then was able to unlock and it was pretty magical experiences to scan this QR code lock, it pop open. And what was really fun was that I had this 15-minute walk to the nearest Starbucks and it was a walk that I kind of dreaded in the morning but really still needed my caffeine fix. So having this bike just made that such a pleasant experience.

And I couldn’t get over the fact that not only was this a great product, but it had its own built in distribution channel, which is on the street. So at no point in time was I exposed to advertising. I didn’t come to it via like a WeChat ad or anything else. It was this bike that was sitting around. So very rarely do you see products with a built-in viral growth engine that was very natural to the product. It wasn’t force. It kind of sat there because people needed to use it.

Andrew: And not only that, now that you mentioned it, I realized that wherever people are dropping it off is where the next person is most likely to care about it, right? Because I’m not taking these bikes to . . . I don’t know how to describe it, to places where there aren’t a lot of people [inaudible 00:31:50] people. I’m going home. Got it. So you noticed that and then your first instinct wasn’t, “I got to start a company like this back in the U.S.” Your first instinct was what?

Euwyn: Well, I was an investor at that point. I’m just kind of trying to dissect. When seeing something interesting and neat, I like to kind of poke around and then really look behind the covers to see what’s really driving things. So notice that the distribution like hack, the gigantic distribution hack, that got me kind of excited. I realized that realize that this is part of a larger trend, which was using streets as a distribution platform. Very rarely do you get wide open distribution platforms. You get Google. You get the early days of Facebook ads. And here this is sitting right in front of me. You could use sidewalks as a new distribution platform.

So I realized that and started the . . . and started to think about how that would work and my mind kind of drifted off to my own personal experiences. It’s like funny enough, I had actually purchased bicycles before only to get them stolen while living in Vancouver and San Francisco. It’s pretty common problem. And that experience is kind of not just due to the cost, it was kind of the hassle that, you know, you just bought $100 bike or $200 from Walmart and you know what, it’s been stolen. You had to go through the whole process again. That was really annoying. And at the same time, I just wanted to get around. And being a very impatient person, I always hated and still do hate the 10 minute-Uber wait when the when the trip length was less than that.

Andrew: Not only that, but I don’t want to put them down, I think there’s a clear use for it, but the 50-minute drive when you . . . well, it’s usually 30-minute drive when you’re not a bike, you can get there 15 minutes. But the point that I’m getting at though is you said, “I’m an investor I got to find somebody to invest in.” And so you started going on . . . was it Facebook? And saying, “Who’s out there doing this?” Am I right?

Euwyn: Yeah, I actually posted. I’m wondering whether I mentioned it or you dug it up but I did just like Travis did when he was starting Uber with a much more limited reach at that point but actually just kind of I was actually, you know, I went from wanting to . . . my natural instinct was to invest in whoever was thinking about doing this because it was here was there’s this obvious opportunity of taking this concept and bringing it to the U.S. So my initial idea was to figure out who else was doing this? Like was there a team already . . . I’m sure there was a team kind of doing this already.

It turned out there wasn’t really. And so I started to look within my networks for maybe figuring out if there were a group of other pre-existing team that I could help seed and capitalize and start running with this thing. And it turned out that there indeed was. My buddy had just left Lyft and he was already hacking on startup ideas with his friend and they’ve been doing so for a few months already, but really hadn’t yet crystallized the product idea. So that was when everything kind of came together. That was around Christmas of 2016.

Andrew: All right, and so the two of you decided, “You know, we’re going to do this together.” And to do it together. I think the original version was you guys saying South by Southwest is where a lot of people who are willing to experiment all converge and they need a way to get around, right?

Euwyn: Yep. Yeah, exactly.

Andrew: And before we get into that, let me talk about my second sponsor, and we’ll do it quickly and then come back into what happened at South by Southwest. Second sponsor is Toptal. You know the founder. How do you know the founder? What do you know about the founder?

Euwyn: Taso and I? I met him at a maybe a startup event close to . . . might have been a decade ago way before the Toptal existed. Ran into him at the San Francisco airport. I seem to bump into him in the most random of times, but very energetic fellow. And he’s built a great business. And we’ve actually used them to hire a designer as well.

Andrew: Where? At Spin?

Euwyn: At Spin, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Wow. You know what, I never talked about that because I think the big burning need is developers. How do we find developers? How do we find them fast? Even people like my friend, Neil Patel, who has a big network who could reach out to developers all the time, he says, “It’s not about the reach, it’s about the speed.” And getting a great developer at a good speed is unusual. So yep, he went to Toptal, he hired from them, he got someone really fast but you’re right. I should be talking about the fact that if anyone out there needs designers, or for me, I needed a finance guy, like an outsourced CFO to look over my books and give me new ideas for what to do, or show me what I’m not paying attention to, to have a finance team too.

So Euwyn and everyone who’s listening to me. If you guys are looking to hire from Toptal, now that you know, don’t just go to toptal.com. I’m going to give you a special URL that will show you my in with Taso. He’s a longtime listener and so he gave Mixergy listeners 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when they pay for the first 80 hours in addition to a no risk trial period. All they have to do is remember that I said top is in top of your head, tal is in talent. That’s toptal.com/mixergy, toptal.com/mixergy. Really the best deal they have anywhere. South by Southwest. Where did you guys get the bikes?

Euwyn: That was fun. So we knew nothing about making bicycles. The three of us, we were software engineers, and I was a software engineer/lawyer. So we . . .

Andrew: By the way, I’m sorry to interrupt. I see here, October 29th 2017, you were looking for a designer in San Francisco who could start fast. And I think that’s on Facebook. I like that I can go down memory lane on your Facebook feed and find this stuff. Anyway, you were just talking about Austin.

Euwyn: It’s all there. So that was quite a . . . it was a pretty magical experience, actually, to launch at South by Southwest. We had just started in around Christmas, basically around Christmas day that we decided to do to start this company. It was three of us. It was fun because I had a seed fund, and so I could with the last check of the seed actually invested in the company. It wasn’t really by design but it sort of all lined up that way and had a bunch of YCombinator friends that wanted to invest before I could even start the company.

Andrew: Really? Okay.

Euwyn: So the network was super helpful in helping me get started. So this time, everything kind of started to line up. You had the capital ready. And we got to work around in January to try to source bicycles and made a couple of trips to really odd places in China and factory towns outside of Shanghai, took trains, two hour train rides in the middle of nowhere to source bicycles. We started with Alibaba of all places.

Andrew: Bikes on Alibaba?

Euwyn: We found suppliers on Alibaba, and had to work with them to come up with products that would work for our purpose.

Andrew: Okay.

Euwyn: Yeah. So we got bikes and then we got IoT locks. We sourced IoT locks, and we built the react native app of that the three of us. And started rolling out like we had to pick a launch place. And I think South by Southwest was just a good forcing function for us. It was a marquee event. There’s going to be a lot of people attention. We thought that was going to be useful for us to get the word out about our product, and also potentially help in our fundraising efforts for our series A, but we actually got preempted. I think we ended up raising our series A, even before then. So that was . . . everything kind of happened at light speed in this space. But the South by Southwest experience was pretty surreal. I kind of remember our series A investor actually kind of coming with us for rides and us kind of dropping off these bikes, these orange bicycles off the back of huge trucks. So that was a rather fun and surreal experience. I got to drive trucks around.

Andrew: You assembled the bikes yourself. You got to drive the trucks around to put them yourself in Austin. Am I right?

Euwyn: Yeah. We did final assembly. So it wasn’t from scratch. You got to like put a few parts together.

Andrew: Like the lock, the Internet of Things, the IoT lock that would let you unlock using the software that you created. You put it around. You didn’t ask for permission then, right?

Euwyn: A couple of points actually. So we didn’t have IoT locks. I just recalled that we actually used combination locks for our first run. It was so primitive, they were . . .

Andrew: You would just give people the code if they signed . . . If they signed up, you would text them the code?

Euwyn: They would use an app, then the app would give you the code if you had paid. So you got this four digit code that you would have to like . . . it was like one of those school locker locks with the dial. So you rotated the dial to unlock. That was a fun aside. I totally forgot, those days are over. Things have changed since then. But so we actually did get. So we made a clear point to actually talk to the city of Austin prior to arrival and we actually got, ended up getting in touch and working with them. The city ended up being . . . it was a pretty overwhelming time for the city as always, South by Southwest has a ton of things going on.

And I think that they sort of gave permission without realizing what was going to happen. And this and then combined with the presence, our Chinese competitor also decided to launch the time. And that kind of got them, made them realize that they were overwhelmed at the whole launch thing. And so we have to kind of get into some last minute negotiations the day after launch, and then we actually ironed out. What remains in history is a first kind of temporary permit to operate a station-less mobility service. And it’s interesting because it falls . . . operating the service falls somewhere between like running a hotdog stand, and like leaving materials on public sidewalks. It’s somewhere that . . .

Andrew: And you’re literally saying that they didn’t at least at the time have any kind of contract, any kind of permit for bike share. And so what you had to do was combine a couple of different things to get to use them as permission for this. Am I right?

Euwyn: Yeah, yeah. We did too . . .

Andrew: Here’s the thing I don’t get. I don’t get why you even bothered from the very beginning. You’re as of always been about asking for permission instead of asking, instead of begging for forgiveness, or whatever the phrase is. Like you have on your Facebook post. And please don’t delete your Facebook page. This is like history. And if you do, if you have to, I get it, scrape it, save it for your kids, your grandkids for historians to go back and see the evolution of your thinking to get here.

So you’ve got Travis Kalanick on your page from March 11th 2017. You clearly are seeing someone who’s made it in this space. He was willing to fight the taxis. He was willing to fight the cities to get in. Why did you say, “I’m going to ask permission”? Instead of just say, “Look, these cities need bikes. They’ve always been saying people aren’t riding bikes. I got a way. We’re going to put it on there. And if they kick me out, then let’s bring shame on them.” Why ask for permission?

Euwyn: So it’s pretty strategic here. And keep in mind that I did a vacation rental company. And then we had the same kind of regulatory issues. This one is a bit different. In bike sharing, one of the biggest drivers of growth is, obviously, leaving our bikes on sidewalks. And because these assets were kind of lightweight and also very visible, you know, they’re not going to get not noticed by cities if we leave them around. And so in this instance, it was actually in our interest to actually work with cities and use that to our advantage and being able to win kind of these limited permits.

As the game has now shifted to becoming a lot of it, a lot of the battles are being fought on the regulatory side of things. And the companies that can demonstrate the most responsibility in terms of building a service and operating are the ones that are being awarded these limited slots on public sidewalks. It’s a combination of both our corporate [schools 00:44:06], and also just the nature of the product that then led to this strategy. Unlike Uber and Airbnb can basically operate in the background. And you don’t really know. A city doesn’t really know that rooms are getting rented out on Airbnb, and it’s hard to tell which ones and which cars are Ubers.

Andrew: You’re saying it’s too easy to stop it. At some point, a city could come by and just scrape all these things up. And so you knew from the start, we have to operate with city permission. When you were in San Francisco, did you get permission?

Euwyn: In San Francisco, we actually did.

Andrew: You did?

Euwyn: We actually did and we did have meetings with the city.

Andrew: It was before you put your scooters out there. This is before San Francisco allowed scooters. It was mostly Bird. It was one other one I think Lime and then occasionally I’d see Spin.

Euwyn: Right. So when that all happened, all three companies launched it around March of 2018, I believe. This is just the space has been evolving in lockstep. A lot of people have been learning the same lessons and realizing. And so we all, I think everyone in the industry, realized that scooters were going to be a next evolution of this space at the end of 2017, I guess. So we had quickly assembled our scooter fleet. And we had a series of meetings in San Francisco where we received word that it was a belief that there was no permit required like based on the city’s current understanding, the staff believed that. Fortunately, we didn’t need any special permit because none had been created to police this product. Again, I think that the city quickly realized it was overwhelmed. And that to kind of backtrack on that to leave that thinking. And so . . .

Andrew: Okay. You’re saying at the time, it seemed like you didn’t need it. And then the city decided that you did need it. It’s kind of bringing up the point, which is there weren’t that many scooters from Spin and I wondered why. I kept wondering why. But let me go back a moment and ask you how did you figure out that it was going to be? Actually before that, you went to Austin, you then raised money, you had something formal in hand, I think it was $8 million. And then you went to Seattle and you got permission. And I saw this like everywhere. A bunch of different companies. A bunch of different reporters wrote about that. I get it.

Euwyn: Yeah.

Andrew: How hard was it to get into Seattle formally?

Euwyn: It was quite, it was a lot of work. And I think that was of a month long process. Well, for us, it was a key focus of about a month or so for myself and my co-founder. And we actually went to camp out in Seattle. A lot of things work in our favor. The fact that our product was bicycles at the time, and some members of Seattle City Council were avid bikers. So that was certainly helpful when you walk into your perspective customer and they already have your . . . they have a bike in their office. They’re truly supportive of this whole class of products. So we ended up benefiting from that and there was actually a change in . . . the mayor ended up. There was actually an existing bike share system called Pronto. They had a station-based bike share system. The [riders 00:47:26] close to the being the right idea, but ultimately failing because they didn’t really get you to your final destination. And then there it’s a clunky system to use.

Andrew: Was it like that company that Lyft bought?

Euwyn: Right? Yeah, it was the same company. Motivate that ran these systems.

Andrew: And it didn’t work in Seattle.

Euwyn: It didn’t get the right level of ridership. It worked. I mean, the product works, like people could ride the bicycles, just not many people did. And I think the one thing that Seattle lacked was a big sponsor. So in kind of funny enough, the sponsor for San Francisco’s system was Ford, and in New York City. So Seattle lacked that big name brand sponsor to help offset the operating losses. And so they were forced to shut down a bike share. A lot of the neighbors . . .

Andrew: I think they eventually got . . . tell me if I am wrong, but I think they eventually got Alaska Airlines kind of which is also in San Francisco.

Euwyn: Exactly, yeah. I don’t know what happened with that deal, but I guess it wasn’t enough. It was maybe it was too late. The deal wasn’t large enough to support that system and it ended up being bombed out. So that decision was fortuitous for us. I mean, we walked in there and it was the easiest sale that at least, the sales pitch was easy. But the nuances and ridings permit was a bit of a lot of work on our end, but the sales pitch was great. It was you guys like bike share. You ran out of funding to keep it operational. We come in and do it for you for free. And they were like how much. No free. And in fact, we’ll pay you a permit fee too.

And so they were pretty much overjoyed and very supportive of figuring out a way to kind of make this happen. And we worked with a gentleman that was on the city of Seattle that was in charge of bike share, who actually ended up later joining our team. So we worked on opposite sides of the table to kind of hammer out the first permit system. So that’s a legacy of Spin that we’re quite proud of like we helped create this whole framework that’s going to regulate mobility, potentially, in the future, as well like this whole framework of limited permit slots is that’s what’s governing just both bicycles, scooters, and whatever else comes down the line from [equals 00:49:53] to anything that is going to be in public rights of way that people are going to use.

Andrew: I’m so excited about that. I’m so excited. This is coming to light. Now look, I understand if you’re living in a city or if you’re living in a small town, this makes no sense. If you’re living in a cold city, I should say, or small town, it makes no sense to you. But if you’re living in San Francisco, if you’re living in San Diego, if you’re living in Austin, if you’re frankly, even living in New York, if you’re living in places where it’s dense, it makes no sense to drive everywhere. They’ve got to be better options and cities need to and I’m glad that you’re helping them get started with this. Let me continue with the story. How did you understand that scooters were going to be the next thing? I would have thought electric bikes. Why scooters?

Euwyn: Scooters are such easy, fun step on, step off experience. So I got a chance to check them out at CES. And I actually think there’s an interesting history that’s developing or trajectory that’s developing for scooters. So this is a breakthrough product from Xiaomi, a large Chinese phone manufacturer and household devices company. They’re kind of like the Apple of China and they made this new scooters before, the non-electric kind. They can go uphill or downhill so that it was a pretty limited use case.

Andrew: Oh, you’re saying that it was Xiaomi’s new electric scooters that made this more possible that before then, it wasn’t?

Euwyn: Yeah. So, I mean, you had Razor scooters before, the non-electric kind of a nice toy for getting around them maybe in your neighborhood park. But that was really a commuting device. And there might have been experiments with other companies trying to make scooters. They ranged in the order of $2,000. They were clunky and Xiaomi’s product was just comfortable. The ride had an electric motor, brushless motor that had a very smooth user experience. And best of all, I think it was around $500 or $600, which is an amazing price for a vehicle that was capable of . . . that was really a real transportation product, not just a toy. And could be ridden on roads and got you around safely.

Just seeing that product was an aha moment. It was kind of like the iPhone. You know, with Gorilla Glass and the App Store, everything just kind of made it came together. People had this . . . people were converging on the idea of the iPhone and people were converging on the idea of electric scooter. And Xiaomi made this all happen. And once I got a chance to test ride on it, I kind of quickly realized that that was going to be the thing that consumers would gravitate towards.

Andrew: Instead of a bike. And so this was CES 2017?

Euwyn: CES 2018, I believe.

Andrew: No, ’18? Last year?

Euwyn: 2018, yeah.

Andrew: No, no, really? I thought you had scooters before then. You didn’t. Okay.

Euwyn: No, we launched in March 2018. Scooters, yes.

Andrew: As a direct result of you going to CES. The reason I’m asking is because I see that you Snapchatted and from CES in January 2017. So okay. So this is . . .

Euwyn: I went there in 2017 as well yeah. Yeah. I make it an annual point.

Andrew: So you went over there, you saw the scooters. And you said, “Hey, you know what? This is going to be the thing.” Was Bird up and running by then?

Euwyn: So Bird had launched in November in Venice. So you heard some reports of . . .

Andrew: September 2017 is when they started, right?

Euwyn: I’m losing track of time. I guess my last couple years have been a blur.

Andrew: Well, according to me anyway. I’m just quickly going to Wikipedia. I should always fact check with Wikipedia. But it seems like September 2017 is when the company launched. But that doesn’t mean that they had the first product. They might have gone for bikes before that. Okay. But did they have it up on the road before you saw it at CES?

Euwyn: I believe so. So one of my team members had gone there and actually was raving about the product as well. So I think a lot of us in the industry kind of saw it at the same time and everyone kind of moved towards this whole scooter thing. And I think that’s probably not the end of the story too. We’re continuing seeing different variants and devices being put on the road exactly . . .

Andrew: I see that in San Diego. Yeah, what do you see?

Euwyn: So you keep seeing that Wheels just started, different sit down scooters. I’d spent, I was actually in Marrakech last week and saw just different variants of gas powered sit down scooters, and these devices are used in it all parts of the world. In Taiwan people ride, pretty bulky. The word scooter I guess can mean a lot of different things in different countries, essentially, from different sizes to how many people it can carry these.

Andrew: Yeah, even in the U.S. Because for a long time, Scoot was called Scoot because they had scooters, but no one had scooters. And then suddenly, scooters came out and, you know, the stand up on one foot, kick with the other, or stand up on both feet, let the electric, then the whole Scoot thing had a different name. Okay, I get it. And so you said I’m seeing everything. You started shifting your business towards scooters.

Euwyn: Right.

Andrew: And that became that superseded bikes today. You guys are doing scooters, no more bikes, right?

Euwyn: Yep.

Andrew: Why did you . . . Mm-hmm?

Euwyn: Yeah. I think we’re pretty agnostic to the actual form factor, meaning that we’re not forever tied to the scooter and we want to continue to evolve the form factor. What’s important is having a lightweight device that people can park on the sidewalk that you can rent and drop off using to get to you around. So anything that works, it can fly. And we’re not going to close that if we can figure out a way to make them cheaply enough, that would be great as well.

Andrew: I want to ask you more questions. I never interrupt guests with this much like passion and this much like hope for the future. I would love it if the focus was on anything that could take the bike lane. Because the bike lane is hardly used in many cities. It’s a faster path. And the more vehicles are on the bike lane, the more cities are forced to create real bike lanes. They would never just dump a bunch of pedestrians in the street and say, “Go for it.”

They would never put a bunch of cars on the sidewalk. The more there are, the more you have to have dedicated space. And the more you put things like scooters and bike lanes, the more cities have to say, “You know what? Let’s develop these bike lanes.” And frankly, it’s a boon for the car drivers because every extra person they get off the road is one less person to sit behind when you’re driving to work or driving anywhere.

Euwyn: Exactly, I think. Yeah, and it’s amazing. And you have to think back there was a time when we didn’t have roads. I mean, cars kind of showed up and we built infrastructure around them. We built the traffic lights, stop signs. So with more vehicles, and it’s an interesting kind of tie back to our relationship and partnership with Ford today. Ford made mass car ownership possible by producing them cheaply and affordably with the Model Ts and got them on the road. So infrastructure was then built around it.

And today by putting scooters in the future other micro-mobility devices on the road, we’re going to see cities also build infrastructure around it. And we’re actively working. We have an in-house policy team that’s working closely with the cities on not just the regulatory aspect with this, but how to build a better infrastructure, which comes in the form of lanes and other safety initiatives to promote the usage of our vehicles.

Andrew: I’m writing questions. I’m going to come back and ask you about Ford’s vision for the future because I see it with Ford. They do see something happening beyond cars and they’re willing to look beyond it. And not just think driverless cars are the future, right? So thinking what else is there? But let me take a moment and just . . . I was going to ask you about the ICO but there’s very little time. Well, actually, since you jumped on that and you said, “Yeah,” you were going to raise money through an ICO. It seems to me like you had trouble raising money from investors because unlike some of your competitors, you weren’t growing fast. If anything, you were being a little too nice, in my opinion. Is that why you decided to go ICO because you couldn’t raise as much money as your competitors?

Euwyn: I think that was certainly one of it, so we ended up not actually kind of doing it. It was an idea. And as a team, we’re pretty . . . we like being creative and then coming up with interesting ideas on the ICO. The idea was something that we kind of toyed with for a while to just to see what kind of came out of it. And nothing ended up kind of did. But it was interesting. And that was reflective. That was one effort of many. It was a very, and it still remains, a pretty competitive fundraising environment for mobility companies.

A lot of money is kind of sloshing around. It’s the capital intensive business that needed things to grow. You’re right, with our approach we ended up not growing as aggressively at the outset as the Bird. In an interesting way that ended up working very nicely to our benefit when it came to the Ford partnership and acquisition. And a big part and thesis behind our acquisition was the value that we had instilled in our service and our approach to working with cities.

Andrew: So you sold to them. Do you remember the date . . . well, you know, forget the day that it closed. Let’s go back to what you were saying before. Ford, I feel like Ford sees something here that other car makers don’t. What are you seeing in the way that they’re acting on their vision for the future beyond cars?

Euwyn: Right. So we’re part of a group, the mobility group at Ford now. And I think that Ford for themselves recognizes the need for the company to evolve. And the space is clearly it’s changing. I mean, people with the car ownership is going away and people are moving towards other services. And it’s not just about selling cars anymore. It’s about returning to the mission of . . . Ford’s kind of mission is to enable the mobility, and that’s taking on a different meaning in 2019 than it did in the early . . .

Andrew: So what are they doing because I’m on ford.com/mobility.html. You should tell to get rid of the html. I’m on there. It says their mission, but I don’t understand concretely what they’re doing. I don’t even see you featured on there . . . . no, there at the very bottom, I see Ford in action. And so that means driverless cars, which I see, that means in . . . Are they also doing like a ride hailing service too?

Euwyn: No, so the launched efforts are the connected vehicles efforts with the autonomic, the micro-mobility sector with Spin. And a lot of these things are happening in real time. So a lot of the strategy is basically where we’re a big part of it and understanding what consumers and large cities want in lieu of cars these days. And it turns out to be a lot of these scooters and small vehicles.

Andrew: What do you think of Bird’s acquisition of Scoot? What happened with Scoot?

Euwyn: It’s interesting. I think Scoot was . . . it seemed to have a . . . so one of the things that they did well was to obtain the San Francisco permit. They’ve built a great relationship with San Francisco and I think that likely was the big part the reason of the acquisition. They’ve been operating the red scooters that people use.

Andrew: The original mopeds?

Euwyn: The original mopeds, yeah. I think that probably in this really high growth, hyper growth environment with Bird and Lime raising over, well, over 700 million notes, it’s really difficult to compete with a smaller war chest against players in the space now. So I’m kind of glad they ended up finding a good or decent outcome for them.

Andrew: What’s the other one? Gary Tan invested in one. That’s also in San Francisco there too. What is it called?

Euwyn: Skip?

Andrew: Skip. Right. So Skip seems to have their scooters everywhere. Scoot not. What do you think the difference is? What’s Scoot . . .

Euwyn: In San Francisco?

Andrew: Yeah, in San Francisco. Even though I think they have the same number deployed, there are more people riding one than the other.

Euwyn: I think Scoot ended up not deploying quite a bit given the attrition rates that had experienced in San Francisco. So that’s a very real part of our business.

Andrew: What’s that?

Euwyn: Scooters that go missing and get . . . that suffer wear, and, tear and damage. So that’s just a part of the business. And that’s getting addressed currently by us and other players in the space by developing hardier scooters that have locks on them so that they have, you know, greater life spans.

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. I think Mark Suster who’s investing in Bird is talking about one of differentiators will be creation of the actual scooter. And so you guys are creating your own scooters too?

Euwyn: Yeah. So we’ve been . . . we’re always a . . . that’s a net effort that’s well underway now that we’re working within Ford and trying to leverage some of their manufacturing expertise and experience as well. So I think the form factor is going to evolve quite rapidly over the next . . . it’s happening right now. I think we’ll see a lot of . . . lock two units will become quite popular. It ensures reliability and helps cities deal with, you know, scooters that are just parked everywhere.

Andrew: If there’s a lock, there’s a need to go and connect it to something. Now people will cheat it but mostly people will go and just connect it to whatever. And another one is take a photo and so that helps a little bit.

Euwyn: Yeah. So you’re an avid scooter. You know all the . . .

Andrew: I don’t like scooters at all, I have to be honest with you. I find that it feels a little bit unsafe. It feels like it’s not in my control to just stand there and deal with whatever the upper limit of the scooter is. I much rather have an electric bike where if I hit . . .

Euwyn: You are a bike guy, got it.

Andrew: Yeah. Then I can go really fast. And I feel more stable on that, especially on roads where these cities have not been taking care of their roads. And so scooters have to suffer for it. I don’t mean to like to say that I don’t like scooters, but I tend not to ride them. I think my other challenge with them is there hardly are any here. And this is my problem, I signed up for Scoot, the electric moped. My problem with them was if you can’t pick it up anywhere and you can’t drop it off anywhere then you can’t leave for work or a meeting counting on it being there to get there, and counting on it being there to come back.

And maybe I guess if there were more scooters in town and I could count on them, I’d feel a little bit more willing to use them on a regular basis. And then I feel more trusting. I think these cities are making a big mistake by saying . . . I know you’ve got to run, I could see it in your face but I got to finish this rant because I’m passionate about what you’re doing. They launched it in October in San Francisco. What happens in October? The city gets dark. It gets colder. Why launch it October not the summer?

You don’t just convey any emotion about this, but that’s just nuts. And then they don’t launch enough that you can say, “I’m going to take this to work as a replacement for Uber.” So I see my nanny, for example, but she’s not going to take a scooter, our nanny is taking a Lyft or an Uber. These people are paying money for alternative transportation. So there’s money being spent. I think that should be spent on scooters. It should be spent on electric bikes. It should be spent on this. Anyway, I feel like I should apologize to you because [inaudible 01:05:44] without you on camera.

Euwyn: It’s amazing. I like . . .

Andrew: Do you feel like you’re changing the world or is this like entrepreneurial jadedness, the cynicism setting into the world? I feel like we are becoming jaded and cynical. I don’t see you being as enthused about what you’re doing to change the world as I am, frankly.

Euwyn: I think, I guess, we’re in the middle of a . . . I still remain quite enthused. I think it’s going to be incredible summer. There’s just a lot of work to do. So we’ve grown our team to almost, I think, it’s hit 400 people or so. So that’s been a crazy ride. We were 24 people at the time of acquisition.

Andrew: I can’t believe you guys were that small. I always assumed you were bigger.

Euwyn: Yeah. We just had to do the work pretty fast and hard.

Andrew: All right. I’m going to close out with this. I’m glad you’re tired. I don’t mind you being tired. You’re working for something meaningful. We really are. If you do your job right, you’re going to look at the street 10 years from now and see more people with smiles on their faces as they’re getting to work. Because, frankly, it is more fun to be riding fast instead of sitting in traffic. It is more fun to have control over your experience. And I don’t care about the environment that much. But it does seem to help the environment, right?

Euwyn: Yeah.

Andrew: And it gets people to where they want to go faster. Instead of making cities more difficult, it makes cities better. I hope, I hope that at some point . . . I don’t know. I hope everyone who’s listening to me has the ability to have the kind of impact on society that you do. Well, cool. I don’t mind. I also understand that this kind of like fawning means that you’ll lose a little respect for me. I don’t give a damn. I think what you’re doing is important. I think what entrepreneurs are doing is important. Not all of them. But I think that it still pays to strive to change the city. And I still believe that we can change the world as entrepreneurs. There’s my end of the rant. Euwyn, thanks so much for doing this interview.

Euwyn: Awesome. Thank you so much.

Andrew: Congratulations. Thank you all for doing this, for being here. And guys, I want to thank my two sponsors. The first is Toptal, check them out at toptal.com/mixergy. The second is the company that will do your email marketing right, it’s called activecampaign.com/mixergy. And Mixergy does still believe in entrepreneurship in tech in a world that seems to be getting more and more cynical about it. But look around, 10 years you’re going to see the world change more because of people like Euwyn. Thank you. Go change the world, guys. Bye.

Euwyn: Awesome.

Andrew: Thanks, Euwyn.

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